My Work Here Is Done

June 2022

Neon Beilby October 2003 – June 2022

Sadly, ‘Opal Lady’ is now a boat without a ship’s cat; Neon has passed away at the stately age of 18 and ¾.  While we have been expecting this for some time, Peter and I really feel his absence in our lives.

Neon joined our family in country Victoria in 2003, as a Christmas gift for our son Mitchell.  He was a red and grey tabby and we used to joke that the grey, instead of the usual white, was because of the smoke that was around when he was born, during a bushfire.  He spent the next 8 years as a confidante, usually wrapped around Mitchell’s neck – a mutually beneficial arrangement during the cold Victorian winters.  He worked at keeping the possums out of Mum’s rose gardens (two leg abscesses later – score the possums) and for no particularly sane reason took on a Tiger Snake under the house (big score to the Tiger Snake – Mum ended up doing mouth to nose respirations until the Vet could get into town with the antivenom, followed by two weeks in hospital). When Mitch had to head off to University, Neon stayed with the older Beilbys and moved to Perth in Western Australia.  He adapted to a suburban lifestyle; chased the odd mouse, glared at the odd rat, generally expanded into middle age and was set for a comfortable and sedentary end of life – it was not to be.

People who knew Neon noticed that he seemed to have a second go at life when we moved onto the boat. You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but this old cat was definitely up for it.  And after a relatively short period of adjustment…

Just give me a month or two

he developed a real nautical appetite – possibly fresh fish inspired. Over the last 3 1/2 years  he has enjoyed;

It can’t get any fresher

A lifestyle of regular fresh fish, fresh air and sunshine,

All this ‘fresh’ is exhausting

Dominating small feathery things and shiny scaly things

I’ve got all day and all night and all day and…

Acting as advisor and mentor to Peter, especially when playing cribbage and Yahtzee

Come on Dad, you know there is only a 1 in 1296 chance of rolling five 6s

And helping Suz keep the housekeeping sorted.

Seriously Mum these ropes are a mess

In adapting to the boat life, he like Peter and Suz, also trimmed off the middle age spread (in his case he went from a vet-concerning 8kgs to a trim and healthy 4.5kg) and as a result, was surprisingly more active.

Neon played a vital role in the smooth running of the boat;

There are hidey holes I would not have necessarily visited and cleaned of rust/salt buildup/unclassified smelly substances had I not needed to follow Neon on his explorations of any opening.  Like having a toddler in the home, there are safety considerations that were made because of him; such as keeping things secured, keeping doors jammed, closing cupboard drawers, and these also worked to make ‘Opal Lady’ a safer place for us. 

Neon would be surprised to learn that he filled the role of peacemaker/communications officer.  I often started conversations with “Neon isn’t happy with this [insert situation here]…”, and Peter would often say things like “Doesn’t Neon need [water/food/litter changing] now…”.  Actually, I think Neon wouldn’t have been at all surprised, as he knew He was the Centre of our small ship.

Unfortunately, it was Neon’s time to leave us, but he has left an almost tangible furry shaped hole in ‘Opal Lady’, and we miss him dearly.

Hasta La Vista

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. So sorry to hear about Neon, but you have written a wonderful obituary in his honour.

    1. Thanks Jeni, I think Neon would have approved of his piece too.

  2. What a wonderful way to spend his twilight years. 😊 Enjoyed reading about Neon’s adventures on Opal Lady. Beautiful tribute to Neon Suz.

    1. I believe there are people who read our blog just for Neon’s contributions (at least that’s what he used to tell me). Thanks Cynth

  3. Sorry to hear the news Suz. I hope wherever Neon is now he is still enjoying fresh fish and fresh air. Big love to you all x

    1. Well if there isn’t fresh fish there, who ever is change will definitely be hearing about it. Thanks Alana

  4. Thank you for sharing his life. Beautiful to read. RIP Neon.
    Take care of each other. Sad time. 😘😘😻

    1. Glad you enjoyed the read; he had quite an exciting life for a domestic moggy. Thanks Keren.

  5. So Sorry to hear of your Loss. He was certainly a Well Loved Cat and Well Travelled. Hugs .xxx

    1. He certainly travelled more than your average moggie could have expected. Thanks Jude and Wayne

  6. What a wonderful time Neon had on the boat – a great adventure to end a long life. Pets do weave a way into our lives and leave quite a gap.

    1. Thank you Anne. He has left a indeed left a big furry gap in our lives.

  7. Oh, I’m clearly behind the times but how sad that Neon is no longer one of the crew. He clearly enjoyed boat life, more than anyone imagined a cat would, and I imagine that he is sorely missed by you both x

    1. Thank you Rebecca. Neon certainly enjoyed boating more than any of us, including him, expected.

  8. Oh no Suz! How very sad for you both to lose your furry traveling partner.
    Neon was very fortunate to have been part of the seafaring Beilby team.
    May fresh fish be in constant abundance for him.

    1. I am sure there were times when Neon didn’t think he was fortunate to be a seasfaring cat, but the fresh fish would have made up for it. Thanks Vona.

  9. What a lovely tale of the life of the wonderful Neon – a lucky cat to have found the Bielby family.

    1. Greetings Jenny, He did indeed have quite an exciting life. Thanks for reading. Suz

  10. Greetings. Catching up on blog news and sorry to read about the passing of Neon. Am sure that it comes with mixed emotions, a big void (now you have to talk to each other all the time) and knowledge that the next stage of your adventure begins. 🙂

    1. Greetings Carolyn, Peter and I do indeed need to talk to each other now – not sure how that will go hehehe. Hugs Suz

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